We develop cost-effective optical imaging and spectroscopy tools to reduce the incidence and mortality of cancer and infectious disease through early detection at the point-of-care. In collaboration with the UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, we have developed novel cellular and molecular imaging technologies to recognize signatures of early neoplastic disease. At the same time, we have developed optically active, targeted nanoparticles and fluorescent dyes to image directly the molecular hallmarks of cancer. Through clinical trials at MD Anderson, Mount Sinai Medical Center, and Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai, India we have optimized these agents and imaging systems, demonstrating that they can detect precancerous lesions and early cancers in the oral cavity and the esophagus with high sensitivity and specificity. More recently, we have initiated a multi-disciplinary effort to develop molecular specific contrast agents and optical micro-fluidic chips for point-of-care detection of infectious disease, through collaborations at Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.